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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                  

Kingdom of Eswatini


In this small, landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners.

With an estimated 40% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and attract foreign direct investment is acute. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought, and nearly two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Swaziland

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Swaziland.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Swaziland's Street Urchins

Vuyisile Hlatshwayo, Africa Information Afrique, in Mbabane, Mail & Globe, 21August 1997

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Nonhlanhla Hadzebe, a timid seven-year-old says: "The last time I saw my mother and father was when I was very little. I do not know where they are, but I know that they are still alive. At times I sleep without having eaten anything but I cannot complain -- to whom, anyway? I only pray to God that one day my parents will come back so that we can all be a family again."

The study finds that street children are often abused. Police spokesman, Sabelo Dlamini, said that old men sodomize boys often as young as aged nine to thirteen. Many are infected with sexually transmitted diseases. He says the street children are enticed with E10.00 for a sex session. Before the molestation, they are offered glue in order to keep them in "high" spirits during the act.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Regional Overview: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Africa [PDF]

ECPAT International, November 2014

[accessed 8 September 2020]

Maps sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, and child early and forced marriage (CEFM). Other topics include gender inequality, armed conflicts, natural disasters, migration, and HIV/AIDS.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 8 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The SODV Act prohibits commercial sexual exploitation, sale, offering, and procuring of children for prostitution, and practices related to child pornography; conviction of these acts carries strong penalties. Children were occasional victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The law criminalizes “mistreatment, neglect, abandonment, or exposure of children to abuse” and imposes a statutory minimum of five years’ imprisonment if convicted. Although the law sets the age of sexual consent at 16, the SODV Act provides for a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment for conviction of “maintaining a sexual relationship with a child,” defined as a relationship that involves more than one sexual act with a person younger than 18.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 8 September 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 490]

In addition, on August 1, 2018, the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act entered into force. The SODV Act establishes new legal protections for victims of gender-based violence and exploitation, and criminalizes using, procuring, and offering a child for commercial sexual exploitation, with a penalty of up to 25 years’ imprisonment. (11,19,27)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006$FILE/G0644621.doc

[accessed 27 December 2010]

[63] The Committee is alarmed at the increasing rate of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in Swaziland, as noted in the State party report.

The Protection Project - Swaziland [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING – Young girls have been lured to South Africa from Swaziland for forced prostitution. Trading of emergency food aid for sexual favors has been a problem in Swaziland. Women and children have been told that they must have sex with warehouse managers or truck drivers so they can receive the food aid.

Human trafficking rife in SA

Lebogang Seale, Independent Online (IOL) News, 7 December 2006

[accessed 27 December 2010]

They are promised a better life in South Africa, but instead they are kidnapped, branded and sold into sexual slavery for as little as R380.  Women and children, some as young as 13, are falling prey to syndicates operating in Mozambique and Swaziland, trafficking and smuggling them to South Africa on an unprecedented scale.

Harmonisation of laws relating to children - Swaziland [DOC]

Prepared by Jacqui Gallinetti, The African Child Policy Forum, November 05, 2007

[accessed 14 Aug  2013]

CHILD AND SEXUAL ABUSE - Swazi law does provide some guidance on child prostitution. This is contained in Part V of the Crimes Act which criminalizes a parent or guardian for receiving compensation in relation to the prostitution of his or her child;  creates an offence for inveigling or enticing a girl who is not a common prostitute for the purposes of prostitution  and criminalizes a person for procuring any girl to become a prostitute.

Sadly, these provisions provide no protections for girls who are already prostitutes and section 3 of the Girl’s and Women’s Protection Act states that a girl being a common prostitute is a defence for a perpetrator who has unlawful carnal connection with her.  These provisions show a definite lack of understanding of the issues relating to children undertaking sex work and the dangers that they are exposed to.  In addition it appears that sex workers are prosecuted in Swaziland whilst the clients are not.



The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 27 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There are reports that girls from Swaziland and Mozambique are increasingly found working in child prostitution in Swaziland.

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT - The Penal Code prohibits the procurement of a girl unless she is a “common prostitute” or “of known immoral character” for purposes of prostitution.

CHILDREN - The law prohibits prostitution and child pornography, provides protection to children under 16 years of age from sexual exploitation, and sets the age of sexual consent at 16 years. There were reports that Mozambican and Swazi girls worked as prostitutes in the country. Children, including street children, were increasingly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

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